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Appeared on: Monday, October 27, 2008
Globalsat BT-368


1. About Globalsat BT-368

Today we have the chance to play with the new Globalsat BT-36 GPS receiver. The device comes in a stylish and thin housing and promises to become your best companion.

The GlobalSat BT-368 is a Bluetooth GPS receiver utilizes GlobalSat's mature micro-technology based around SiRF's StarIII GPS chipset, which tracks up to 20 satellites simultaneously. The device comes equipped with a built-in antenna for efficient signal reception. 

Looking at the device we cannot hide that its shape reminds us of the latest iPhone-alike mobile phones. Actually the BT-368 was inspired to accent the recent wave of sleek mobile phones now entering the marketplace, according to the company.

The BT-368 communicates with a host devices such as a PDAs, Laptops or Smartphones using Bluetooth 2.0 Serial Port Profile (SPP) technology and with a powerful built-in antenna, it still remains compact enough to provide accuracy even while driving among downtown high-rises, or hiking under dense foliage without the need for an external antenna. The built-in, rechargeable Li-Ion battery provides up to 10-hours of continuous use from a full charge and with the auto-shut off feature, battery life is extended turning off the GPS when no Bluetooth connectivity with the host is available.

The lightweight BT-368 is also compatible with all NMEA compliant software sold on the market today.

- Features

- Specifications

GPS standard SiRF Star
GPS Antenna Built-in patch antenna
Operation range 10 meters (33 feet)
Bluetooth Default PIN 0000
Operation time Up to 10 hrs
Charge time 3~4 hrs
Automatically enters Turn-Off When there is no active Bluetooth connection 10 minutes
Charge Connector Mini USB
OFF to ON Press the ON-OFF button for approximately 1s causes the unit to turn ON
ON to OFF Press the ON-OFF button for approximately 1s causes the unit to turn OFF
GPS status Blinking – GPS position is fixed
GPS status Steady on – GPS position is not fixed
Power status Solid Red – Battery Low
Power status Solid Amber – Battery is charging
Bluetooth status Blinking (Once per three seconds) – Not connected to any Bluetooth device
Bluetooth status Blinking(Once per second) –Bluetooth device linked
Operating -10°C ~ 60°C
Storage -20°C ~ 70°C
Humidity 5% to 95% non-condensing
DC supplies 4.5V~5.5V / 0.5A
Battery Cell Type Lithium –ion Rechargeable Battery
Dimension 40.0 mm x 70.0 mm x 9.2 mm
Weight 30g

GPS Specification
GPS Chipset SiRF Star III
Frequency L1, 1575.42 MHz
C/A Code 1.023 MHz chip rate
Channels 20 channel all-in-view tracking

Accuracy
Position 3m / 2.5m with DGPS
Velocity 0.1m/sec
Time 1 micro-second synchronized to GPS time

Acquisition Rate
Hot start 1 sec., average
Warm start 38 sec., average
Cold start 42 sec., average
Reacquisition 0.1 sec. average

Protocol
GPS Protocol Default: NMEA 0183
GPS Output format Default: GGA(1sec), GSA(1sec), GSV(5sec), RMC(1sec) and SiRF binary protocol  

Dynamic Condition
Acceleration Limit
Less than 4g
Altitude Limit 18,000 meters (60,000 feet) max.
Velocity Limit 515 meters/sec. (1,000 knots) max.

Bluetooth Specifications:
Bluetooth:
2.0
Bluetooth Chipset CSR BC4
Frequency 2402MHz to 2480MHz
Bluetooth Profile SPP (Serial Port Profile)
Operation Range 10 meters (33 feet)
Output Power 0 dBm (class II)
 


2. The package

The BT-368 is currently sold for around $60, as found in various online stores. As you realize it is one of the most expensive GPS receivers you can buy

The retail package is simple and includes:

The Globalsat BT-368 is a very small GPS receiver. You really have to see it in order to believe how small it is.. With a weigh of just 30gr it can easily be carried in your pocket and become your next best friends at your destinations.

Three LEDs placed on the front side of the device and provide information about the basic operation state of the device, as you cab see in the tables below.

At the top side you can find the power button and at the left side there is the mini-USB charging input:

The three LEDs are steady on when the the device is operating. They are also providing information about basic troubleshooting according to the table:

At the left side there is the USB charging connector. In case you decide to purchase the optional USB Data Cable (+$10), you can also use the BT-368 product as a USB GPS device.

The label found on the rear side of the device gives us more details technical about the product. There is no information about the capacity of the included battery but the specs indicate a 10h operation time with a full charge.


3. Installation, tests

- Installation

In order to start using the device you should charge it via the miniUSB port. You need to keep the BT-368 plugged-in around 3~4 hours for a fully charged battery.

- Tests

We paired all tested GPS receivers with an Asus A6JA laptop, via BT protocol. Each device has its own Serial port mapping under Windows. We placed the two GPS receivers side by side at the dashboard of a carl. The same environmental conditions are valid for both receivers (night, clear sky, 25° Celsius ).

We recorded all produced data for a pre-selected route with VisualGPS and later analyzed it using GPSLog. We couldn't measure the TTFF tests ("Time to First Fix" which is the time it takes for a GPS to determine its current position), since no such software is available under Windows XP.

 
Globalsat BT-338
Globalsat BT-368
Fix
Invalid
0
0
2D
0
0

3D

100

100

Satellites
Average (in view)
9
12
Average (in use)
7.59
6.70
Average Signal Level (in dB)
Maximum per Satellite
47.75
42.13
Average per Satellite
39.03
35.24

The two Globalsat Sirf III GPS receivers seems to perform differently

The BT-368 had more satellites in view although it only used half of them (6.70 vs 7.59). On the other hand, the reception of the BT-368 was slightly worse than what we got from the BT-338. Both GPS receivers were able to quickly get a 3D Fix and never lost it during the tests.

- Indoor Sensitivity

We placed both receivers inside a house close to a big window. Both Globalsat products had a 3D Fix, with the BT-338 to perform slightly better..


4. Final words

The Globalsat BT-368 combines the latest industry trend for stylish and compact devices with strong GPS capabilities. With a weight of just 30gr, it's very portable, easy to carry and of course easy to loose it :-)

The SiRF III chipset has proved its efficiency and performance so we had big expectations, which were partially fulfilled. While the BT-368 didn't manage to reach the performance of the BT-338 (not currently available ), its signal levels are enough to keep you guided for the rest of the trip. According to its specs, the built-in battery should last up to 10hours, with auto-off function in case there is no BT signal.

There is no option for an external antenna - an add-on that could offer better signal levels.

The device comes in a simple retail package that includes a charging cable and a car charging kit. In case you can activate the WASS/Egnos the accuracy may be improved, but not many navigation software support it anyway. Last but not least, the BT 2.0 protocol interface consumes less power when you use the device paired with your PDA, mobile phone or laptop.

Overall, the Globalsat BT-368 is a stylish BT GPS receiver with good performance that will cost you somehow more than the competitive solutions. It is currently sold for $60.

The Positive

The Negative



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